Security And Protection

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A 'little piece of security and protection' doesn't always work out that way.

Submitted: November 09, 2016

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Submitted: November 09, 2016

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Security and Protection

 

I’m not a heavy sleeper, never have been. The slightest noise and I’m awake, listening, placing it, working it out. Once I know what it is that I have been disturbed by I can usually manage to drift back off to sleep quite easily.

 

But that has all changed over the last month or so. There’s been gangs of kids around on the streets outside my house. The shouting and the swearing, I can cope with, even the drinking as long as it doesn’t get too out of hand. But the fighting, no, that’s something else. And even worse is the break-ins.

 

I know of at least two houses in this area that have been broken into. Not in this street, mind. It’s pretty obvious that they’d not get much reward from around here. No, the ones I’ve heard about have been in the more affluent streets. But you never know how desperate they might get, do you? So, I’ve gone out and bought myself a bit of security, a bit of protection. And I now sleep with that under my pillow.

 

Maureen and I have a pretty stable bedtime routine. Now we’re in our late sixties we have our own rooms. Just so we don’t disturb each other with our night-time tossing and turning. We lock up nice and early, usually once it gets dark. It is very rare for us to have visitors come to call, at least without us knowing they are coming first. Chances are that if we are not expecting them they won’t be callers that we’d want to see. Maureen goes upstairs about an hour before me. I like to sit and watch the TV for a while.

 

Once I’m up those stairs and ready for bed, I’ll check my ‘security’ is in place under my pillow, then I’ll take a quick glance through the window – just to check – before climbing into bed and settling down.

 

Tonight, I can see them hanging around on the street. There’s four of them. I watch as they push and jostle each other around. It doesn’t seem in any way unusual; I feel quite safe once I pat my pillow. I’ll not be awake for long.

 

And I must have gone to sleep almost instantly for the next thing I know is I’m hearing a noise. I lay still and concentrate, trying to get a picture of where those sounds are coming from, what it is that’s making them. They’re not fitting in. These are not normal sounds for this house at night time. There is somebody downstairs.

 

Can I get out of bed without alerting them, whoever they are? The springs are a bit on the twangy side but if I move carefully I should manage it. I’m going to have to step carefully, quietly, but I’ll pick up my piece of added security first.

 

Along the landing I go, slowly, slowly. Now I’m out of the bedroom I can hear that those noises are coming from the kitchen. Maureen’s door is firmly closed. I won’t disturb her; I don’t want her getting all worried. I’ll shout up to her if I need to; she’s a much heavier sleeper than me.

 

Down one stair, then the next and the next. The gun, although small, is quite heavy and my hand is starting to shake. The kitchen door is shut but I can see that the light is on from the cracks around the door-frame. Of course! They must have realised it is pension day and think it might be worth the effort of breaking in.

 

Well, I’ve got a surprise for them. I’m entitled to protect myself and what is mine from scum like this. I’m allowed to have this gun that’s here in my hands and I’m perfectly entitled to use it.

 

They must have heard me. I have almost reached the door when the light is turned off. I stand still, putting myself in the shadows while still being in a direct line with that door. And I hear the handle moving down, I hear the click of the latch. They are coming out and are going to be heading straight for me.

 

I clasp the gun in both of my hands, willing them to stay steady. As the door opens they tremble again and my finger twitches on that trigger. The bang shocks me. I hadn’t even realised I’d fired it, that I’d put that bullet in flight straight towards a target.

 

Somebody falls to the ground. I hear the smash of glass, and expect to hear shouting, screaming, but there is nothing. There are no voices at all.

 

Something is wrong; something really bad. I can feel it before I turn the light on, and as soon as there’s some illumination I can see just what I’ve done. Maureen, my wife for forty years, is laying on the floor, a broken glass of water on the ground beside her.

 

I have shot her straight through the heart with my ‘little piece of security and protection.’


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